Was Hoping for some Current Landlord Feedback

10 Replies

Hi Everyone,

My name is Nels. I am a recent college grad from Minnesota and am interested in exploring mobile tech startups for landlords and tenants. I wanted to post, because I was hoping I could ask for a bit of feedback.

I haven't created anything yet, and to be respectful to this forum I am not trying to sell anything. I truly mean it when I say I am just looking for feedback.

If you have a free moment I was hoping you could help fill out this 2 minute survey:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1X6NYDvg5iGA06O1kfXPG2W2tFMS6_zb2PZsz7XicDtA/viewform?usp=send_form

If you are open to it I would love to hear from you individually. Shoot me a personal message.

I truly appreciate the help and feedback. I'll do my best to answer any questions on here. Thanks!

Nels

Not sure I'd like to open a doc from someone I don't know, but I'd be happy to answer questions on this forum.  Where'd you go to school?

Originally posted by @Alan Mackenthun :

Not sure I'd like to open a doc from someone I don't know, but I'd be happy to answer questions on this forum.  Where'd you go to school?

I'm with Alan...maybe post a handful of questions on here and you're likely to get a much better response.

Medium logoMichael Seeker MBA, Renting502 | http://www.Renting502.com | Podcast Guest on Show #94

Hello Nels,

I will be happy to fill out your survey.

I am a property manager in San Antonio. We currently manage over 800 properties.

There are several applications currently available for us to do inspections on iPads with pictures.

I have not seen any apps that allow the tenants to do their move-in inspection with pictures or submit work orders with pictures.

You can email me directly at [email protected] or call my cell phone at 210-240-0303.

Hello everyone, 

Alan, Michael fair feedback. In hindsight, If I was in your shoes I would be skeptical too. 

I am happy to elaborate on the forum:

Quick details on my impetus for this post: 
I believe there is a gap in communication between many landlords and tenants. There are great technology tools to help bridge this gap, but (from my research) I have been underwhelmed by the tenant friendliness of most of these applications. I believe that if given the right tools tenants can be a power tool to helping identify and stop problems before they become big issues.

To help make this a bit more forum friendly, I will adapt my questions a bit, but here is what I am curious about 2 different areas: 

Digital Move-in
When tenants move in and submit damage reports for their rooms, do they do it digitally? Are they able to upload photos with these reports, and in general what do you think of this idea? If you are not already using one, Would you be interested in an application that does this. 

Work orders

Do you use technology to help gather work-order requests from tenants. Are they able to upload photos with these reports, and do you believe the process can be improved so that it is easier for the tenant to submit reports. 


I truly appreciate the help. Michael, I graduated from the University of Minnesota, proud Golden Gopher. Thanks for the welcome Michael, It is great to be here! 

Kevin thanks for the note I will follow-up with you shortly!

Nels 

My wife and I are also Gophers.  My wife Comp Sci, me Civil Engineering.  That was a while ago.  I moved into software pretty quickly for all the opportunity.  We're now working on setting up the tech side of a start up locally.

I don't use anything now, but it's something I've looked at.  I'm not at the scale to afford the best, but something would be nice.  Many property management applications support work orders, but a mobile app would seem to be a good lightweight solution. 

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @Nels Pederson :

...

Digital Move-in
When tenants move in and submit damage reports for their rooms, do they do it digitally? Are they able to upload photos with these reports, and in general what do you think of this idea? If you are not already using one, Would you be interested in an application that does this. 

Work orders

Do you use technology to help gather work-order requests from tenants. Are they able to upload photos with these reports, and do you believe the process can be improved so that it is easier for the tenant to submit reports. 

I don't rent single rooms to anybody, but with a room or a house, I don't like the idea of a tenant just submitting some report at the time of move-in. The landlord or landlord's representative need to be there to verify that the new tenant did not cause the damage or make something up. I once had a lazy property manager who, instead of doing a move-in inspection, just gave the tenant a form to return at some unknown time in the future. It was very unprofessional.

As for "work-order requests," a large part of being a landlord or a property manager is to figure out what a tenant's problem really is and what needs to be done about it. Tenants frequently don't understand what the problem is or report it accurately. Technology that encourages filling out yet another online form may sound appealing to people who spend all their time on Facebook, but having a conversation with the landlord is far preferable. A property manager with a large number of properties might like the idea of online requests, but I suspect they'll pile up in an inbox.

Hi Bob, 

Thanks for the thoughts. I appreciate the insight. If you do not mind, I have a few follow-up questions to your comments. 

Damage reports
My initial goal with this functionality is not to change the way the process happens if that makes sense. I fully support you being along side your tenants as they are filling out this report to verify that they are accurately representing damages. I am more interested in the reporting itself and how the information is gathered and stored. 

I am interested in your thoughts on how much value it would add to include images in this reporting process. My thought is, at the end of the year, when your tenants move out and you are accessing any new damages, you will have documentation and images to know whether or not any previous damages have gotten worse ( ex: The scratch on the floor is now a huge gash). 

Work Order Requests
I 100% agree with your sentiment that a personal conversation is better, but I do believe there are limitations, I have two clarification questions for you:

- Do you ever have trouble getting tenants to communicate with you?  I have heard from a few landlords that tenants will reach out with any big issues, but often do not with smaller issues, which to a landlord can be important to know about to. Do you run into this trouble at all? 

- What role does reporting play in your business ? I know all states are different, but share a common rule that landlords must acknowledge and respond to problems within a certain time frame. Would it be helpful to have a tool like this to document these reports and show your responses? Along with that another benefit would be that the tool would also help you accurate assign costs to projects so that you know where your maintenance dollars are going. 

Thanks for the help Bob, 
Nels 

@Bob Hucker

I don't think it happens often, but lack of communication can be a problem. At the worst, I have had tenants who painted several rooms of a house without obtaining permission as required, and they chose bad colors or combinations that had to be dealt with when the house was put up for sale. More commonly, there are little things: Let's say a gate sags and doesn't close well, or a front door swells from wet weather and fits too tightly in the frame. Ideally, a tenant would just figure out how to adjust the gate hinges and take care of it. More elaborately and less likely, a tenant would sand down the edge of the door and paint it with the correct paint from the garage. Second best, a tenant would tell me about the problem and I would correct it. Most likely, tenants will not want to disturb the landlord or will not think that the condition needs to be corrected. Instead, they will start to slam the gate or the door, making matters worse and necessitating more extensive repairs.

I can't imagine a situation in which my tenants complain that I did not respond to a problem in some way during a legally required time period. It just doesn't come up.